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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    July 10, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

establish governor romney as a marauding pirate or just a tax-averse castaway? it's tuesday, july 10th and this is "now." joining me today, radio host kurt andersen. author of the book "true believers" which hits book shelves and online book shelves today. joan walsh, editor at large at msnbc contributor and co-host of msnbc's "the cycle," steve kornacki, who may or may not be the hardest working man in television and political correspondent for "the nation" ari berman. president obama is in iowa now, where he's expected to hammer home the issue of tax fairness and push to extend the bush tax cuts only for households making less than $250,000. governor romney is suggesting this amounts to class warfare.
>> he demonized republicans, and continues to be highly divisive not only to congress members but also the american people. we do not pit american against american. we don't attack one street or another or one city or another or one person or another. the president's announcement that he plans on extending just for certain classes of americans, what he's really saying is that those that are job creators and small businesses are going to see a massive tax increase and that will kill jobs. >> but it is not just republicans who are uncomfortable with some of chicago's strategies. the "new york times" quotes a new york businessman who is also an obama fund-raiser saying i just got back from rhode island on my boat, referring to criticism of mr. romney's much photographed vacation boating last week on new hampshire, i can hold 12 people on my boat. i don't feel that i'm out of touch with americans or that i'm a bad person. i find it offensive and i'm a supporter. joining us now from capitol hill
is chairwoman of the democratic national committee, florida congresswoman, debbie wasserman schultz. great to have you on the program. >> thank you. great to be with you again. >> i wonder what you make of that comment, this idea of class warfare. is there any concern that this is going to stick? >> well, look, president obama has been fighting for the 98% of americans that would benefit from making sure that americans get a tax break if they're making less than $250,000. in the continued recovery, president obama has been focusing on creating jobs and getting the economy turned around and fighting to make sure that we can extend those tax breaks from 2001 and 2003 for the middle class and let the ones that focus on millionaires and billionaires, the wealthiest most fortunate americans, let those expire because everybody has to pay fair their share while we move the economy
forward. so 98% of americans, it's kind of hard to say that that's class warfare. i know don peebles and i know he's a supporter of the president but at the end of the day, 98% of americans getting a tax break now is critical so we can continue to move this economy forward. >> i want to ask you about fund-raising because certainly, the talk amongst a lot of the business community or those on wall street is that the president isn't a real supporter. to what degree do you think that's affected your fund-raising capabilities? we know the numbers for june, mitt romney -- team romney beat team obama in fund-raising for the last two months and we have been flooded with a series of e-mails in our in-boxes, channeling, i think the only word i could use is desperation and the latest obama e-mail to supporters was entitled no one should have the power to buy an election. we may never beat them at the fund-raising game, but the gap is growing and if we don't reverse the trend, we will lose. there has been this sort of ongoing tone of anxiety. i won't say defeat, but is that
something that you feel inside the campaign or is this sort of just a very good strategy to raise money? >> well, there's no question that we're in the process of setting up the largest, most dynamic grassroots presidential campaign in history. we are so proud that we have a core base of 2.4 million donors. the average contribution is about $50.23, and so this is truly a people powered campaign. as compared to the billionaire-fueled, billionaire-infused campaign that mitt romney is running. so it's clear that this is going to be a campaign in which the incumbent very likely gets outspent by the challenger. the contrast between how these campaigns are financed couldn't be more clear. we've got regular folks fueling president obama's campaign. 98% of our contributions are under $250. hardly any of those contributions on mitt romney's side. you've got the super pacs that
are betting on mitt romney because he wants to take us back to the failed policies of the past so they want to make sure that they put as much money as they can into his success, and that's the choice that's laid before voters leading up to november 6. so making sure we can continue that grassroots support is going to be critical. >> i want to continue on that team of billions and millions. i have to ask you because you're from florida, you know all about tropical getaways. >> yes. domestic ones. >> there is a new ad out from the obama campaign asking how long can mitt romney keep information on his investments and overseas tax havens secret and why did he in the first place. i know the president has commented on this a little with local affiliates yesterday but congresswoman, i have to ask you, do you think there is something illegal here? certainly the line of the rhetoric would certainly seem to suggest that, as it has been voiced by folks on the left and from the president's re-election campaign. >> that's the problem. we don't know. because mitt romney has only
released one year of tax returns and an estimate of another year. that's totally contrary to his own father, when he ran for president, who said that releasing only one year is unacceptable because it could be an anomaly. mitt romney needs to come clean and release multiple years of his tax returns so we can see why he invested in a bermuda corporation and transferred it to his wife's name the day before he became governor of massachusetts. so we can see why he's invested in swiss bank accounts and accounts in the cayman islands. and you know, we also need to know why does -- what is the allure of investments out of the country, when he headed up bain capital, he was a pioneer in outsourcing and shipped jobs overseas. it would be nice if we had a candidate for president who was committed to america. mitt romney is committed to making sure that either he makes the most money as humanly possible, or his investors do. that's evidenced by his track record in shipping jobs overseas and making sure that he has
investments that we don't know why he invested in offshore accounts. but most folks that i know, they make their investments in a bank in america, most american business men invest here and if you're running for president, that certainly should be your commitment. >> it is certainly fair to say that atms in the cayman islands maybe not as convenient as atms onshore but what do i really know. congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, thank you for joining us. >> thanks, alex. i want to open this up to our panel. you have been so silent for the top of the show, it's painful. steve kornacki, are we going to eventually see mitt romney's tax returns? >> i'm starting to think haley barbour came out yesterday and basically said yes, if i was mitt romney i would release. haley barbour hasn't been the biggest, most supportive romney backer but he's a prominent republican. it reminded me of when we were going through this at the republican primaries. at that point back in january romney had released zero as was trying to hold that off until he
got through the primaries and chris christie said mitt romney sh should go forward and release these. i'm starting to think this is building towards something where there will be more of a release here. will it be as definitive as what his father put out, i doubt that. i do think there will be more coming at some point. >> i think the obama campaign has to say over and over again, swiss bank accounts, cayman islands. the script writes itself. >> it does. but what if we're going to learn more bad things from his tax returns? i really do think since we've sat here since january, we've had similar conversations before and it hasn't really made much of a difference, i'm not saying there's anything illegal. i won't go there. but there is something that's being hidden. otherwise you just get them out there. >> i very much doubt, very much doubt, i will take everyone's bets today, there is anything illegal that's going to be revealed. of course, it's in congresswoman wasserman schultz's interest and the campaign's interest to say i don't know. however, a guy running for
president with offshore accounts every which way and we know why he did it. she says we don't know why he did it. yes, we do, to lower his effective tax rate. so to the degree that just sells the idea that the system is rigged for the super rich like mitt romney, that ain't good no matter what -- >> that's the big problem. this feeds into a larger narrative about romney that he's out of touch with most people, that he's basically the walking embodiment of the people that americans hate most, which is the .0001% that are gaming the system. he doesn't come off like warren buffett. he comes off as a guy who made a lot of money doing not necessarily illegal but potentially ethically dubious thing in disaster vulture capitalism. this will really hurt romney. >> you had to add disaster. what's interesting is polls are showing that it's working. not just the bain attacks. now "the washington post"/abc poll shows romney's business background is that a major
reason to support him, 16% of the public thinks it is. 32% thinks it's a major reason to oppose mitt romney. 49% think it's not a major factor. to me that says they don't know yet. the numbers are not looking particularly good on that front. we'll have more to discuss vis a vis mitt romney and also, tax breaks. coming up, the titanic, the gestapo and the affordable care act. we will talk republican strategy to take down the national health care plan, next. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation.
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we are resolved to have this law go away and we're going to do everything we can to stop it. >> the president's law as it relates to health care is
harming not only the health of the american people but the health of our economy. >> this is nothing short of economic malpractice. >> cue the health care puns. minutes ago, house republicans began a floor debate over the repeal of obamacare act, h.r. 6079. tomorrow's scheduled vote will be the 31st attempt to repeal or dismantle the affordable care act. if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try. you get the point. but whatever happens, we know the ultimate outcome. the white house issued a statement yesterday saying the last thing the congress should do is refight old political battles and take a massive step backwards by repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class. if the president were presented with h.r. 6079, he would veto it. joan, the notion that congress
is going to repeal this seems to be sort of a figment of republican imaginations but certainly on the state level, there is real action being taken by governors to say we are opting out of the medicaid provision, we are not expanding the rolls. i do want to play some sound from republican governors discussing the affordable care act. rick perry said i will not be party to socializing health care and bankrupting my state and then went on to say this. >> the bottom line here is that medicaid is a failed program. to expand this program is not unlike adding 1,000 people to the titanic. >> governor lepage went on to compare the affordable care act to the gestapo, if we could play that for our viewing audience. >> this decision has made america less free. we the people have been told there is no choice. you must buy health insurance or pay the new gestapo, the irs.
>> it's worth noting that the governor later apologized saying it clouded his message. >> that's a good reason to apologize. >> he said it was not his intention to insult anyone, especially the jewish community or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered. nonetheless, the idea, the line of attack is so sharp from the right, you were talking about millions of people that are not going to get health insurance. >> right. >> yet there's been -- a, what do you make of that language but b, where is the response from the left? >> well, the language is disgusting, obviously, alex, but the real issue here is that we've got a system where we've got the republicans in the house and the senate doing what they can to block president obama. they've declared that as their basic intent, their purpose in life is to defeat him. okay, we know that. but you also now have a situation where you've got these red state governors who are kind of nullifying the affordable care act. they are turning down money from the federal government. they are -- it will be 100% paid for for i think the first three
years. they're turning this down. texas already has. i think the highest rate of uninsured people are in texas. the answer from the left, i don't have an answer. people aren't in the streets protesting a lot of things they should be protesting but this is a situation where these are poor working poor people, they are busy. this is something they haven't gotten yet so it's not exactly being taken away from them. >> i just feel the pendulum has swung so far in the wrong direction in terms of the debate over this. we are talking about the governors that have said they're opting out of this, they have 29% of the total americans without health insurance in this country. the idea that not only are they not apologizing for this decision, but that they feel like they can sort of go out like yosemite sam with guns blazing and say this is equivalent to the titanic or the gestapo is shocking. >> it really is. i think we should say it simply. people are going to die because rick perry wants to run for president again or governors want to pander to the tea party.
that's what's going to happen here. you have very poor people who are not going to get health insurance because of what they're doing. so i think the debate needs to be framed a little more simply which is this is the consequence. it really is life or death here. i think some of these governors, not rick perry but some of them will come around. easy to say it now when the law isn't in effect, before an election. once the hospitals and some of the other parts of the health care industry start lobbying for these provisions, i think some of the more reasonable governors to the extent there are reasonable governors left in the republican party, will come around. >> ezra klein makes that point, too, which is that sometimes historically, these sort of bigger entitlement programs, social welfare programs, take awhile to get adopted. arizona only in i believe 1982, being the 50th state to adopt medicaid, 16 years after it was first implemented. >> politically, even beyond reasonableness, just political, the political calculus at a certain point, unless they decide in these states not to
provide health care for poor people, which is possible in some states, it's going to become incumbent upon them to say let's take this federal money temporarily with no strings attached in order to help us balance our budgets and supply health care. >> that's the one part, though, where i think in the short term, the politics, you just want to look at the politics, i agree from a human standpoint it's disastrous but all the incentives for the republican politicians in the states you showed line up behind refusing this money. this is sort of a piece with rick scott throwing back the railroad money from florida. chris christie turning down the tunnel in new jersey. >> there's a difference between transportation projects and health insurance insofar as there should be real push-back from whether it's the working poor or advocates for a fairer american social compact. >> take a red state in the south where the democrats are never going to win in the fall, think about the bottom line for an ambitious politician is the republican primary. if you're the governor and take the money, you are allowing a challenger to come in and say
governor x is implementing obama care in this state and you lose your primary. >> indeed. we will see how that plays out in the next couple months. the deadline is january 1st, 2014. after the break, individualism and independence helped define the 1960s but have those same values also undermined progress in later decades? we take a look at some of the themes in kurt andersen's wildly awesome new book, next. [ female announcer ] you can make macaroni & cheese without freshly-made pasta. you could also cut corners by making it without 100% real cheddar cheese. but wouldn't be stouffer's mac & cheese. just one of over 70 satisfying recipes for one from stouffer's.
more than 40 years later, our culture is still being shaped by the protests of the 1960s. in his new book, kurt andersen tells the fictional account of a prominent lawyer who looks back on her activist past, writing quote, those years, the universe did start revolving around us, affirming our adolescence,
making our fantasy of self-importance real. practically overnight, we and everything we thought or did, our new music, new ways we dressed and talk, our sensibilities, became topic a among the grown-ups. his new book is called "true believers." i got it yesterday, i haven't finished it, but great book. i thought it's a really interesting time to be talking about the '60s. tell us a little about what you think, how the culture of the 1960s has influenced sort of where we are today. >> well, in so many ways, we saw an upsurge in occupy protests last fall, part of me thought oh, this is just young people today doing the same thing but it was different and they had, i think, many of them, the same
kind of visceral repulsion at the system. in the '60s fortunately people had stopped the war or enacted civil rights. it still affects the nature of our political discourse. obama being called a socialist. the sort of old-fashioned left/right and antipathy was born in the late '60s. >> you also make the point, you had a really interesting op-ed i thought talking about the sort of selfishness of the 1960s and that that is something that is not just echo ed in modern society, but the "me" decade has turned almost into the "me" half century. do your own thing is not so different than every man for
himself. if it feels good, do it. whether that means smoking weed and watching porn and never wearing a necktie, retiring at 50 with a six figure public pension and refusing modest gun regulation or moving your factories overseas and letting commercial banks become financial speculators. the self-absorbed "me" decade having expanded during the '80s and '90s from personal life to encompass the political economy will soon be the "me" half century. >> the '60s for the last while have been demonized by the right as when everything went bad. and the left has tended to buy into that in a converse way saying oh, no, the '60s were all great. not only civil rights but the personal liberty and i have begun to think that what we see as the freedom of the '60s, you can wear blue jeans on television shows, you can wear sneakers, you can, as i wrote in the piece, smoke weed and watch porn, has its equivalent on the right. i believe that the freedom to
it's mine, i can make as much as i want, i can pay my workers as little as i can, i can outsource jobs, all that began, has the same tap root of the do your own thing. you know, mitt romney and his peers in private equity are doing their own thing. steve jobs i think is a perfect ex ex exemplar of both sides of that. >> what you're saying is really important and it's really interesting to remember that the '60s were not only great for some people, they were scary. there was a kind of disorder unleashed and that stayed with us and stays with us today. but the '60s were also really awesome. i don't just mean in the fun sense. that's what we take away from it. the culture is what we remember but the civil rights movement wasn't selfish. feminism wasn't selfish. >> i want to make clear to all of my left wing letter writers in the "new york times," i'm not saying the '60s were all bad or
that the civil rights movement or the women's movement were selfish. but all of the personal liberties, sex, drugs, rock and roll stuff which we are still living with today, was definitely and i think it's the flipside of the coin that has gotten our sort of market maniacal economy. >> also, the sort of idealism of the '60s. i don't know that we have that in the same way, you know, you talk about occupy in terms of being a call to action. there was a participation in the political process we haven't yet seen from occupy. i think that is sort of the legacy of individualism that was maybe spawned then. >> why do you think we are refighting seemingly every battle of the '60s at this very moment? it seems like democrats and liberals are on every front, whether it's the voting rights act or medicare or women's rights, et cetera, et cetera, down the line, are on defense right now? why is it happening at this moment? >> well, i think to some degree, it's the last hurrah of the people who in the long term have
lost many if not all of those battles and it's one last shot at, you know, turning back the clock to a world before 1965. part of me sometimes thinks well, okay, i'll give you that, get rid of medicare but we'll give you 92% marginal tax rates as well. if you really liked the '50s so much. >> it's that we won the culture war but lost the class war, in a sense. we lost the emphasis on economic issues. >> which is to my point, what won is a kind of selfishness. >> what goes around kind of comes around. i don't know. >> as mark twain said, history doesn't repeat but it rhymes. >> there you go. the book of course is "true believers." it's on sale right now. we have to go to break. after the break, give me a tax break. democrats and republicans battle over tax cuts. i was teaching a martial arts class and having a heart attack.
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you've got one option that says let's cut $5 trillion more in tax cuts for the wealthy and somehow that's going to solve our problem. then you've got folks like me who say let's invest in education and infrastructure. if you give me a tax break or mr. romney a tax break or warren buffett a tax break and that costs us $1 trillion, that trillion dollars ends up coming out of a student who is trying to go to school and now he's going to pay higher rates. you can't also spend that money to put people back to work rebuilding the i-74. >> that was president obama speaking to local media affiliates yesterday, framing the tax debate in terms of fairness for the middle class. right now, he's in iowa, where he's meeting with a family that would benefit from his plan to keep the bush tax cuts in place
for those earning less than $250,000. meanwhile, this is a live look at grand junction, colorado, where governor mitt romney is speaking this hour. he is staying true to his party's platform and calling for the tax cuts to be extended for all americans, including high earners. joining us now to make sense of all of this, from washington, msnbc policy analyst and "washington post" columnist, the great, our very own ezra klein. >> you know it says that on my card? my msnbc cards are great. >> ezra, let's talk about this from sort of the policy side of things which i know is an area we like to explore together. the president in those interviews with local affiliates, i thought it was interesting, we were talking about this when we were putting the show together, he was talking about the fairness bit on one hand but also using that money for investment in education and transportation and infrastructure. at the end of the day, it's not that much money in terms of trying to change, you know, the american infrastructure and put people back to work. what did you make of that?
>> i don't know that i completely agree with that. it probably won't be used for that, right, but the amounts of money we're talking about are really significant. if you could get the $900 billion or so we're talking about for ending the tax cuts for income over $250,000 for families, that is a lot of money for infrastructure and if you go further with the president's september deficit plan, which had $1.5 trillion in tax increases on largely the rich, that is just an enormous amount of investment in infrastructure. so these are -- one thing i think sometimes we forget in this conversation in washington, we tend to say oh, taxing on the rich, you can only raise so much money there, you need more. i agree. in the long run, you do need more. you're not just going to be able to tax the top 2% and solve all of our fiscal and investment problems. but because of the level of inequality in this country, rich people have a lot of money. that is what inequality does. when you tax -- >> that's the kind of analysis we need, ezra. yes. >> yeah. i'm happy to be able to provide that for you. >> i want to open this up to the panel and talk about how the
president, discuss how the president delivered the message. the "washington post" says his re-election campaign has doubled its effort to allow the george w. bush era tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest americans. a policy that should be an easy sell to the remaining 98% of americans. but where he needs to be fiery and passionate, he stood in a business suit behind a lectern in the executive mansion making a presentation that was almost apologetic. >> yeah, i'm not sure i really agree with that. i think the timing on this first, if you want to talk the raw campaign politics, the timing on this makes a lot of sense because we're having all this discussion about mitt romney's finances, mitt romney's effective tax rate, mitt romney's offshore holdings. this is a great time to introduce something like this subject. but what this really is, this is setting the stakes for this election because obviously, anything that obama tries to do right now, obviously anything the house republicans try to do right now in the bush tax cut, it doesn't matter. what matters is what happens in december, in the lame duck session. after this election. this is really setting the terms starkly. what obama will come up against, say obama gets re-elected in
november and then tries to actually implement this through congress, what he's coming up against is the fact that since 1990, since the george bush senior tax hike of 1990 when about a quarter, a third of the republican party went with him, the idea of raising income taxes in any way in the republican party, absolutely dead. if you can really make it so it seems like hey, i just want a mandate to do away with these bush tax cuts for the top 2%, that might be what it takes to budge the republicans a little. >> ezra, wonk blog has a chart showing it would be a slight uptick in the rate, marginal rate for those making $250,000 but still lower of course than it's been historically. we were talking about the 1960s, just how high income taxes were. we have that visual there. at the end of the day, is the president going to be able to convince 98% of the country that this is a no-brainer? >> the president hasn't had much trouble getting popular opinion on his side. there are dozens and dozens of polls. bruce bartlett at one point put 23 of them together on the table, showing heavy large
majority support, often majority support among republicans for raising taxes on the rich. it's the single most popular thing you can do to reduce the deficit. now, republicans say raising taxes in general is unpopular so the two sides have these sort of simultaneously but in a sort of way contradictory propositions going. i think the way, the direction this fight is going, and it goes back to the investment language you pointed out at the beginning, what obama is trying to do in this campaign is say if you don't raise taxes on the rich, if you take taxes off the table, here is what happens to the rest of the budget. those things are very unpopular. the cuts you need to make in investment, the cuts you need to make in education, medicaid, medicare, social security, those are very unpopular cuts. republicans and romney and ryan in particular have been very aggressive about essentially obscuring those effects. they have said look, our tax cuts will be paid for but they have not said at all how. they have not named even one tax deduction they would eliminate in order to pay for them. then they said our overall spending cuts will be paid for,
we will get down to 20% of gdp in spending, that's $500 billion in cuts in 2016 alone. he's not giving anywhere near that level of cuts. there's really a fight here as to whether or not the gop can remain vague on the consequences of not raising taxes and the president can be -- can convince people what the consequences of not raising taxes will actually be. >> yeah, and whether the concept of magic math can carry a party to victory in november. ezra klein, as always, thank you for your insight and wisdom, my friend. >> thank you. after the break, texas does battle with the doj over its controversial voter i.d. law just as governor romney plans to speak in front of the naacp there tomorrow. the trouble in the lone star state is next.
under the proposed law, concealed hand gun licenses would be acceptable forms of
photo i.d. but student i.d.s would not. many of those without i.d.s would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. we call those poll taxes. >> that was attorney general eric holder speaking moments ago at the naacp conference in houston, using strong language to criticize texas' voter i.d. law. this comment comes as the justice department is battling the lone star state in court over that measure, arguing that it has the potential to disenfranchise 1.4 million voters, the majority of whom are black and hispanic. ari, you have been tenaciously covering this story. talk to us about this case, how you think it will play out in federal court. >> it's very significant because number one, it's the first time that a federal court has looked at one of these restrictive voting laws since the 2010 election to see if they violate the voting rights act. i thisnk the facts are not on
texas' side. they are going to lose. their law will not be cleared by the court in d.c. because it does discriminate against minority voters. and the second thing which is the big picture here is texas really embodies the conservative response to demographic change which is that it is a state wh booming demographic change, 8% of the growth in the last decade has been from hispanics and blacks and the conservative response in texas has been dilute the minority voting power. so basically don't try to -- >> under the auspices of voter fraud. >> don't try to court blacks and hispanics, just try to prevent them from participating in the political process and draw your congressional and state legislative districts in such a way that white republicans hold on to power for the next decade and beyond. i really do think other states are looking at what texas is doing and trying to copy it going forward. so what the courts say about texas is redistricting map and their voter i.d. map will be very important going forward for the future of the voting rights act. >> we know that 17 states in the
country have enacted strict or nonstrict voter i.d. laws. the laws are in effect in 11 states. it is really interesting to me when we debate this, again, supporters of voter i.d. laws say this is to prevent voter fraud. i think there was five complaints of voter impersonation in texas from 2008 to 2010. >> that's why it's such evil genius. focus on the genius as well as evil. it's a problem that doesn't exist that this massive set of new laws is being created to fix and it sounds reasonable. oh, yeah, you should have an i.d. but of course, its effect and it seems its intended effect is to do just -- >> its absolutely intended effect. we spent yesterday, those of us doing cable news, sort of laughing, sort of shrieking about the lady in the range rover who talked about the common people not understanding and ticked off the college kids, the babysitters and the nail ladies. now, that they shouldn't be able to vote, she basically said that, because they don't understand, they are less
educated. these laws are basically putting that woman's philosophy of life into law. those people should not be able to vote, they don't understand. >> well, i want to play a vintage clip of mitt romney, december 27th in new hampshire, talking about south carolina's voter i.d. law which is being blocked of course by the justice department. let's take a listen. >> the idea that people should not be able to be identified as they vote so we can know they're not voting multiple times, and that's the purpose here of course. we don't want people voting multiple times. and you can get a photo i.d. free from your state, if you get it at the time you register to vote, people can get photo i.d.s. is there anyone here 18 or older that does not have a photo i.d.? that's what i thought. all right. this is not like we're all without photo i.d.s. >> literally canvassing the room. anybody that doesn't have a photo i.d.? no. no problem. >> the audience poll of
republicans. the quote to me that sums it up, i think it was a week or two ago, the state house leader in pennsylvania, they passed voter i.d. in pennsylvania and he said at a state republican conference, this will enable governor romney to carry the state of pennsylvania. he bragged about it. he put it out there. >> isn't that a significant part of the libertarian right who doesn't like having to carry photo i.d.s around and having the government get in your life in that way? isn't there -- >> there has been some push-back in more libertarian western states haven't adopted these i.d.s like they have been adopted in the south and parts of the midwest and east coast. romney is so wrong because we are starting to see concrete evidence that 1.4 million in texas, 754,000 -- >> 11% of the population do not have government issued photo i.d.s. >> this is a huge number of people. these numbers are larger than the margin of victory in the
2004 presidential elections. this could swing the election. i have been saying over and over this is the sleeper issue that could decide the 2012 election. it's not just that people don't have the i.d.s, they're not able if they don't have them to get them because they either don't have the documentation needed to get the i.d. or in texas, there's 81 of 254 counties have dmvs. if you don't have a driver's license, how are you supposed to get the i.d.? you might have to travel up to 170 miles just to be able to get that i.d. needed to vote. it's insane we are making it so difficult for people to do the most basic thing in a democracy which is to be able to vote in the next election. >> of course we're not talking about the other efforts that conservatives are making to cut back on early voting, voter registration drives. this is a broader portfolio of disenfranchisement. i think eric holder's comments about this being a poll tax and using language that means a lot is very, very loaded language for this country given our history, our civil rights history is important. it will be very interesting to
see what mitt romney says to that room of naacp listeners in texas. coming up next, alan west compares entitlements to slavery and doubles down. details next. the medicare debate continues in washington... ...more talk on social security... ...but washington isn't talking to the american people. [ female announcer ] when it comes to the future of medicare and social security, you've earned the right to know. ♪ what does it mean for you and your family? [ female announcer ] you've earned the facts. ♪ washington may not like straight talk, but i do. [ female announcer ] and you've earned a say. get the facts and make your voice heard on medicare and social security at on medicare and social security last season was the gulf's best tourism season in years. in florida we had more suntans...
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mroens less money, more problems. chris dougherty temporarily cut the wages of 400 municipal employees to minimum wage because a city cannot pay their full salaries. welcome back. it is time for "what now." this is i think a demoralizing tale, if anything. the minimum wage in pennsylvania is $7.25 an hour, which of course is the national rate. they are having a fiscal crisis in pennsylvania and workers are
getting, hopefully the aim is to pay deferred pay once the state is more solvent. scranton only has $5,000 in the bank which, they have a $16.8 million gap in their 2012 budget. as we talk about all of these decisions at the state level, the specter of fiscal crisis looms quite large. often we don't pay enough attention to that. it's kind of intentional as to why the parts of the stimulus package and the proposed jobs act that were basically to give money to states and cities to keep people on the job were so unpopular with republicans, because they want this to happen. this is the way you shrink the state. you do it, if you can't do it at the federal level right now, you do it state by state, and when there's nothing there, there's nothing there. >> congressman alan west is not sorry for using the word "slavery" to describe welfare programs in america. west said i understand that my country is at a very perilous situation and i am going to use the words necessary to get the
attention of the american people. he said this about president obama. he does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning and have that title of american. he would rather you be his slave and be economically dependent upon him. >> he's also the guy of course who not many weeks ago said there were 18 communists in the house of representatives -- >> 81. >> 81. 81 communists in the house of representatives. it's so outrageous. again, i mean, words, in politics, words are thrown around, but if this is slavery, who is benefiting, who are the slave owners who are benefiting to continue the trope? this guy has already proven himself to be an unbelievable font of outrage and he's keeping at it. >> this guy, if this guy can't get voted out of office there's something wrong with american democracy. seriously. steve told me before the show that his district which was a swing district has gotten much
safer, republicans. west may be sort of in a way saved from himself by the fact that he's surrounded by like-minded tea party voters. >> it's part and parcel of all that rhetoric, the affordable care act, the irs is the gestapo, the affordable care act is the titanic. >> it literally reminds me of the '60s when people were saying he's a fascist. really, it used to be the new left who used that kind of outrageous over the top language. now it's -- >> it's know your audience. west is not trying to appeal to the broad middle. he's not trying to appeal really to swing voters. he's trying to appeal to the core republican party base and he does it better than almost anyone in the obama era. >> they're saying if you make these people dependent, they will vote democratic forever and the democrats will rule the country, and it's incredibly condescending to americans as well as to democrats -- >> he's obama's secret plan. >> i also think the use of the
word slavery to describe the american social compact is just a little bit extreme. but as steve says, he isn't talking to all of us. he's just talking to the crazy people that vote for him. thanks again to kurt, joan, steve and ari. catch steve on "the cycle" today and every weekday at 3:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. also, make sure to pick up a copy of kurt's book. "true believers." see you tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i am joined by the legendary lawrence o'donnell, michael eric dyson. until then, follow us on twitter. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. good afternoon to you, andrea. hi, alex. thanks so much. coming up next, the bush tax cuts and the outsourcing debate playing out in swing states today. president obama about to speak in iowa. mitt romney now speaking in colorado. we'll have the highlights. joining me, romney supporter and former new hampshire governor.
plus obama deputy campaign manager. we'll preview the new political mini series, "political animals." that and richard engel, next on "andrea mitchell reports."